Call for end to low paid migrant workers in Australia

by Ray Clancy on June 21, 2016

in Australia Immigration, Jobs in Australia

More must be done to end migrant worker exploitation in Australia, especially with regards to worker safeguards in trade agreements, it is claimed.

The Migration Institute of Australia is asking all political parties currently campaigning in the run up to the general election in July to commit to actively working to end migrant worker exploitation.

According to MIA national president Angela Julian-Armitage, the continued exploitation of these workers is simply abhorrent and not in keeping with Australian values.

Foreign Workers Dusk

She was speaking after yet another investigation showed how workers from overseas end up being paid less than the minimum wage. In the latest discovery it is claimed that several Chinese construction site workers in Australia, under the Subclass 400 visa granted as part of the China Australia Free Trade Agreement, were being paid less.

There were also concerns about safety on sites and questions about the true unavailability of Australian workers to fill the specialist jobs these workers were granted visas to do.

“What the recent media reports have, yet again, shown is that not enough is being done to bring an end to migrant worker exploitation in this country. This is a major human rights issue in Australia and all sides of politics must agree that the next Parliament will do more to eradicate migrant worker exploitation,” said Julian-Armitage.

“Reactive responses to this issue each time the media reports on another case of migrant worker exploitation are simply not good enough,” she added.

The MIA has sent a letter to all major political party leaders calling on them to commit their party to ending migrant worker exploitation ahead of the election on 02 July. It says that it fully supports current safeguards in place for Australian workers and the work of Fair Work Ombudsman and Fair Work Commission and that more needs to be done to make sure that migrant workers have the same access to these safeguards, which includes writing them into Australia’s trade agreements with other nations.

“Trade agreements have become an important part of the Australian economy and will continue to in future. However, the economic benefits of these agreements to Australia should not ameliorate or jeopardised workers safeguards,” explained Julian-Armitage.

“Australia will have a need for skilled migrant workers for as ever long there is a paucity amongst our own residents and to replenish and build our workforce faced with the challenges of an ageing population and that impact on our workforce,” she pointed out.

“It is our moral and ethical obligation to treat our migrant workers with the decency and respect any other Australian worker would expect in the workplace,” she added.

“The Migration Institute of Australia is committed and ready to work with all Parliamentarians post-election to assist in crafting solutions in order to put an end to migrant worker exploitation in Australia,” she concluded.

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